Board’s stance on SA series ridiculous

It is moronic that the BCCI has yet to take a decision about the Indian team’s proposed tour to South Africa. Before the tour, which is supposed to commence in November, the BCCI has scheduled a home series against the West Indies comprising two Tests.

The itinerary of India’s tour to England in the summer of 2014 has been announced while the specifics of two series that are due a little over a month from now are yet to be firmed up – a ridiculous scenario.

With analysts and media questioning the need for a series against the West Indies, which was not a part of the Future Tours Programme (FTP), BCCI   ‘sources’ have suggested that the Caribbean outfit has been invited to let Sachin Tendulkar play his landmark 200th Test in front of his home crowd.

This apart, another thought seeded in the minds of the gullible is that sour relations between key members of the BCCI and Haroon Lorgat, chief executive officer of Cricket South Africa, is the reason for the rethink of sending the team to that country.

The planted stories have been fodder for many discussions and debates on whether Tendulkar should be playing his 200th Test on friendly Indian wickets or against Dale Steyn and company on fast pacy pitches.

The venue of his milestone Test has also become a major talking point. Should it be Ahmedabad (the original venue), Kolkata (because it can accommodate the highest number of people) or Mumbai (Tendulkar’s home town)? To queer the pitch further, the ‘sources’ have also ‘informed’ the media that the BCCI, in its magnanimity, have left the choice of the venue to Tendulkar.

In the first place, why is it that the sources within the BCCI never have the guts to identify themselves? The organisation, probably the best run sports body in the country, presently has a lot of dirt sticking to it with scandals ranging from spot fixing to conflict of interest sullying its image.

The one way people’s attention can be diverted is by creating (or feeding) a story where none exists.

While not trying to be a party pooper, Tendulkar has clearly stated that he takes it one game at a time, and that venues do not matter to him.

While on the South African issue, Lorgat has gone on record that he is willing to sit down and discuss any issues that BCCI may have and has offered to apologise to anyone who he may have offended.

It’s about time these ‘sources’ stop pulling the wool over people’s eyes.

The current economic scenario does not augur well for the BCCI which will be forced to hard- sell the Indian Premier League in 2014.

The South African tour is of no monetary benefit to the BCCI and apart from Australia’s tour (seven ODIs and a T20), there is no other opportunity for BCCI to rake in the moolah in 2013.

Hence, a shortened tour to South Africa and addition of some local inventory will ensure that the BCCI laughs all the way to the bank. Meanwhile, let the Tendulkar debate continue.

(The writer is a former Cricket Club of India captain and Bombay University cricketer)

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